Diane Nelson, Director of Instruction

diane-nelson-portraitWest Vancouver Schools Premier Academy

Diane Nelson, Director of Instruction, is founder of West Vancouver Schools ten Premier Academy programs.

Chosen as one of Canada’s Outstanding Principals in 2012 by the Learning  Partnership, Diane was selected for her ability to communicate a compelling vision, to engage the community by consistently bringing together a highly knowledgeable and competent team of teachers, coaches, instructors, and other community members to work together to deliver quality programs for student-athletes.  Diane is an exceptional leader, one who continues to lay the foundation for the success of her students and the betterment of the community through a strong and vibrant public education system.

Twice nominated (2002 & 2012) for the YWCA Women of Distinction Award in the categories of Entrepreneurship, as well as Education, Training & Development, Diane has been honoured for her achievements that contribute to the well-being and future of the community. The YWCA Women of Distinction Award is recognized as one of Canada’s most prestigious awards for women.

diane-nelson-awardWith over 30 years experience in education, as both a teacher and administrator, Diane has obtained her Bachelor of Education, Diploma in Counseling Psychology, and Master's in Educational Administration, all from the University of British Columbia.

As a MindUP Trainer, Diane has provided numerous workshops and in-service for teachers to help them deliver an evidence-based curriculum that helps foster social and emotional awareness, enhance psychological well-being, and promote academic success. Diane inspires educators to create an optimistic classroom that promotes and develops mindful attention to oneself and others, tolerance of differences, and the capacity of each student to grow as a human being and a learner.

An educational consultant for the Vancouver Canucks' Community Partnership Program since 2005, Diane is the creator and author of the character education program called Fin’s Friends. The program was written for teachers to help them provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to enhance ethical and responsible behaviour. This valuable classroom resource for teachers assists them with the teaching of social responsibility and character building. The program, written for Grades K-3, is being taught by primary teachers in over 3800 classrooms around the province. To date, the program is being used in over 35% of all K-3 classrooms in B.C. Diane last presented the program Nationally to educators at the Canada Character Conference held in Abbotsford, B.C. October 2015.

diane-nelson-w-gordon-campbellDiane's leadership style is marked by her entrepreneurial spirit. Her accomplishments are numerous including founding, owning and operating the Vancouver Griffins, the first women's professional hockey team in Western Canada, a member of the National Women's Hockey League (NWHL). The team featured Olympians such as Nancy Drolet, Cammi Granato, Shelley Looney and Courtney Kennedy. In November, 2010, Cammi Granato was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto. Many of her Griffins' artifacts are on display in the Hockey Hall of Fame, including the signing of her first pro contract with the Griffins' organization. In 2002, the BC Sports Hall of Fame recognized Diane for her achievements in sport as part of an exclusive group of 35 outstanding women leaders and legends.

A long time athlete, she has competed in numerous sports including half marathons, 10km runs, triathlons, dragon boating, field hockey, figure skating, bodybuilding and swimming. Some highlights include 6 gold medals at the 1986 World Lifeguard Championships and Miss Vancouver, 1983 Bodybuilding Championships.

Diane's entire career has been about giving students an opportunity to better themselves and realize their hopes and aspirations. She firmly believes that enthusiastic and thoughtful guidance is the best way to assist our youth on the path that they choose.

Greg Meldrum

Raised in West Vancouver, Greg began his basketball career as a “Highlander” at WVSS. In 1991, he was recruited by the University of Victoria where he played five years with the “Vikes.”

After graduating in 1996 with a Kinesiology Degree and finishing as UVIC’s 3rd all-time leading scorer, Greg embarked on a professional basketball career which spanned for 10 years playing for teams in New Zealand, France, England, and Spain.

Greg was also a member of the Canadian Men’s National Basketball Team from 1999-2002 and he represented his country at the 2002 World Championships.  When Greg hung up his basketball shoes in 2005, he attended UBC and earned his Bachelor of Education Degree and began his teaching career.

Greg is a certified “Train to Compete” coach through Canada Basketball and he has been a Head Coach at the Premier Basketball Academy for 7 years.

Additionally, Greg has coached at West Van Secondary for the past 10 years, highlighted by leading the 2014 WVSS Junior Boys to a Provincial Championship, the first in the school’s history.

Ryan Lenarduzzi

I believe in the power of sport and I have built my career around this foundation. Sport provides the opportunity to test personal limits, gain insight into human nature and hone life skills. Socially, sport has the power to bring people together, create community and most importantly make people happy. I utilize a wealth of diverse experience, both professional and athletic, to harness the power of sport through basketball training, youth sport programs, partnerships and events and management services to create meaningful and positive experiences.

Current Projects, Partnerships and Coaching:

  • Head Coach/Founder – Level 10 Basketball Academy
  • Head Coach – West Vancouver School District Grade 8 Premier Basketball Academy
  • Programming partnership with Squamish Nation.
  • Personal Basketball Coaching
  • Head Coach – Handsworth Secondary Grade 9 Boys Basketball


  • Business Development Manager – Fortius Sport & Health
  • Athletic Coordinator and Sports Camps Manager – Capilano University
  • Program Manager – Douglas College Sports Camps
  • Player Development Coach – Capilano University Men’s Basketball
  • University Athlete (Basketball)

Playing info:

North Shore All-Star averaging 20 points and 10 rebounds (Handsworth)

Cap U (Hold single game rebounding record)

Kaitlyn Burke

Kaitlyn has been coaching for over 10 years and is the founder and owner of New Heights Basketball Academy. Kaitlyn has always been a coach. She was a natural point guard and was always an extension of her coach on the floor at every level. Kaitlyn received a full ride Division 1 basketball scholarship to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Her career is highlighted by leading the Huskers to 2008, 2009 and 2012 NCAA tournament. Kaitlyn ranks second on Nebraska’s career games played and ninth on Nebraska’s career three-point list.

Kaitlyn had the honour of playing for Team BC and Team Canada on several occasions. She was a member of various B.C. Provincial Teams from 2003-06 and was a member of the inaugural National Elite Development Academy run by Canada Basketball. In each of those years, Kaitlyn was elected as team captain and was awarded the MVP of the Under-17 National Championships in 2006. Kaitlyn played for team Canada starting in 2005 on the Cadet National Team. In 2006 and 2007 Kaitlyn represented Canada at the Jr. National team level where she helped the team qualify for the World Championships. The following year Kaitlyn played with team Canada on the Development National Team. Kaitlyn attended Argyle Secondary in North Vancouver where she led the Pipers to North Shore Titles in 2002, 2003 and 2004.

Kaitlyn brings her knowledge, skills and energy to every team, group and individual training session she is a part of. Helping develop young women, growing the women’s game of basketball in Canada and serving as a role model to youth has been something Kaitlyn prides herself in.

Blake Poritz

Coach Blake is one of the commissioners of the RBL Basketball program. Blake grew up playing RBL as his dad Richard helped start the league in 1997. He played on RBL provincial teams and represented RBL at the U-15 BC club championships as a teammate of former NBA player Robert Sacre.

Blake played his high school basketball at Sir Winston Churchill high school in Vancouver. He helped them qualify for the senior boy’s provincials and he was named Lower Mainland MVP that year after averaging 38.5ppg in the lower mainland tournament. He graduated in 2006.

Following his graduation Blake played collegiately for Capilano College at the CCAA level for one year before making the jump to the CIS level and playing for St. Francis Xavier University.

Coach Blake has also represented Canada internationally on the Canadian Maccabiah team. He played as a junior (u-19) in 2005 and on the open men’s team in 2013.


Diane Nelson
Director of Instruction
West Vancouver Schools Premier Academy

Office Direct Line: 604-981-1150
Cell: 604-786-3575

Email: dnelson@wvschools.ca

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